Pianist celebrates with Fort Smith Symphony Dec. 2

Pianist celebrates with Fort Smith Symphony Dec. 2

Located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, Oman — officially the Sultanate of Oman — is primarily peopled by followers of Islam, and Arabic is its official language.

Neither of those things kept Christmas for pianist Joslin Dsouza from being the holiday that is the biggest celebration in the Christian world.

“Christmas was always celebrated as a child,” says Dsouza, who was born in Oman. “[My] favorite part of Christmas was decorating the living room with my brother in the middle of the night, setting up the Christmas tree and the Nativity set.

“I was blessed to have parents who taught me the importance of my faith and the real meaning and importance of Christmas. Most Christmases since I was 6 were spent playing piano for church services or Christmas functions.”

Dsouza — who is better known simply as Joslin — will be the featured performer at the Fort Smith Symphony’s “Holiday Celebration” Dec. 2.

He lives now in Dallas, where “most of my time when home is spent in my musical cave (recording studio),” he says.

“I run two musical YouTube channels — soon to be four — and one non-musical YouTube channel,” he says. “Needless to say, I get a lot of screen time” — and successfully so. A live performance video of “O Holy Night” has garnered 800,000 views — 500,000 of them in the month of October alone.

“It’s the quintessential — if not greatest — Christmas song ever written,” Joslin says, and he’s happy to be performing it with the Fort Smith Symphony, along with medley arrangements that include “O Come O Come, Emmanuel,” “What Child Is This?,” “Joy to the World,” Handel’s “Messiah,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and more.

Joslin says he started playing when he was just 3 years old, listening to his father and his brother and playing by ear. But he was soon playing the classics himself, saying his early favorites were Fur Elise by Beethoven, Sonata in C major, K545 by Mozart and Ballade pour Adeline by Richard Clayderman.

“I gravitated to music really quickly,” he says. “Even though I grew up in a traditional household where getting a ‘real job’ was necessary, I was told music could be a good ‘backup plan.’ The turning point came when I discovered how to record multi tracks on my electric piano. It was like I found my purpose, and everything else went out the window.

“Since then I’ve been religiously chasing after the dream. No regrets there!”

Joslin studied the curriculum of the Royal School of Music in London, then moved to the United States to attend the University of Toledo and later the University of North Texas in Denton. He released his first album, “The Lone Traveler,” in 2006 and was on the ballot for the 2017 Grammy Awards for his concert album, “King of the Nations,” which chronicles the birth of Christ. He’s also been heard on MTV’s “Real World Road Rules,” “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” an Adidas commercial, and in performance for the Dallas Cowboys.

“We hope to convey the wonder, magic and warm feeling of the real reason for the season,” he says of his Fort Smith performance. “We hope everyone is inspired to go and share their gift with the world. I truly believe when we do what we love and share it with the world, only then we will share more happiness and, in turn, peace.”



Fort Smith Symphony:

Holiday Celebration

WHEN — 7 p.m. Dec. 2

WHERE — ArcBest Performing Arts Center in Fort Smith

COST — $25-$55

INFO — fortsmithsymphony.org

BONUS — An after-party follows at 8:30 pm. at The Bakery District next door to the performance hall.

Categories: Music